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turmoil, delineated

Posted Dec 15 2004 12:00am
Back at the beginning of the month, I was feeling sorry for myself and wrote about it here.

DH, who had never read anything I've ever written since the dawn of time, read it and got very upset. I wrote about the fallout in busted.

After that conversation, I really thought he understood me and why I write here, and how important it is to me.

Now, I don't know what to think. We had an argument that started being about the new curtains for the family room -- did I tell him about the new curtains before? did I draw him a picture of what I was thinking? -- he says no, I say yes -- we've had this type of argument before: I believe he tunes me out, and he just says he doesn't remember me talking about it, so of course I'm wrong, I must've talked about the curtains and drawn the picture for someone else... Having ordered about $400 worth of curtains, I was upset, because if he hadn't given me the green light, I never would've done that. Yeah, if he doesn't like them we can send them back, it's not that big a deal. It's just the not listening that gets to me.

So: I was angry, and I said a very bad thing (called him a liar), which I apologized for some time after... but, since I attacked him, he went on the counter-offensive and threw all sorts of other stuff in my face, like this blog, again!

We went around and around in circles for hours (not exaggerating that).

He thinks I'm crazy to want to write here, and he thinks I should be in therapy. I don't know how I'm supposed to fit a therapist's appointments into my schedule, but that's not supposed to be a problem, nor is the money. Therapy appointments for me is not how I would choose to spend our money, and they are certainly not how I would choose to spend my time.

Nothing ever got resolved because I finally left the room to end the conversation. We kept covering the same ground, but I've been in that kind of place before. It doesn't matter what I feel, or what I say, how I explain what's important to me. He just does not agree with me.

I am devastated. So many things came up over those hours that hurt me:
-- I'm crazy for wanting to write where strangers can read my stuff
-- I need to go to therapy, he doesn't
-- we have only used our outdoor furniture twice since we bought it, and it was really, really expensive
-- all the hard work I did reading up on difficult children, and all the work I did with DS1 teaching him to control himself, had nothing to do with how wonderful he is now; "he just outgrew his tantrums, it was going to happen anyway."
-- I must've put the Christmas lights away last year, because he doesn't remember doing it, and now a bunch of them are missing, so it's my fault.

I don't think I'm crazy. I'm going through a lot right now -- yo, cancer, remember? -- and this kind of emotional stuff is perfectly normal. Add the holidays on top and I think I'm actually doing pretty well.

I don't think I need therapy. Although I think it would help him tremendously to hear from an outside expert that what I am going through is normal. And that writing is tremendously therapeutic (that is, helpful and healing) to someone like me.

The outdoor furniture will be ours for the next 10, hopefully 15 years. The fact that we haven't used it is a function of the cold fall we had, and is hardly under my control. Besides, the kids use it every day.

I choose to believe that I was helpful to DS1, and that I taught him excellent techniques to recognize what was happening and how to avoid meltdowns. He is a wonderful, wonderful boy.

The Christmas lights... this would be funny if it didn't want to make me cry. Last year I got 2 net lights to put over our Texas Sage bushes. They look really nice and they're so easy, they're great. So when DH put up the lights last weekend, i asked him, where are the nets for the bushes? He didn't know, he didn't see them, there weren't anymore lights in the box. There was a preliminary sparring match over this issue, because we got into the whole thing: I took them down last year and left them in the garage for him to put away, since he is the one who puts them up. I know that he put them away. He doesn't remember doing that, but swore up and down that the net lights were not to be found. Yesterday I went to get some napkins out of the cupboard, and I looked in the box that held the rest of the lights, and there they were at the bottom of the box!

I put them up today. When DH came home: You found the nets.
Me: Yes. They were in the box where the rest of the lights were.
DH: I thought those were just other lights, not the net lights.
(end of conversation)

I leave it up to the reader to draw conclusions as to how satisfying (or not) this conversation was to me.

I asked DH why, after the first fight, he allowed me to think that he was comfortable with my continuing to write here. He said he did no such thing. I guess I am adept at deluding myself.

That's how I feel: like I've been deluding myself, both short- and long-term. DH's casual dismissal of what I feel to be one of my best accomplishments as a parent has just crushed me. I thought, all these years (about 5 now) that he understood and supported the things I was doing, even if he considers a lot of parenting stuff as "pop psychology crap."

Another thing that hurts is that DH has condemned the very idea of my writing here, even though he has only read that one post, and refused to even re-read it to see that it was not exactly an indictment of him, more like the path for me to the realization that I was freaking out because of my scan the next day. I told him he was free to comment and defend himself whenever he wanted, and he balked at that idea: "Now I have to come home every day and read your blog to see how your doing?!?!"

I told him, it's a gift, not a burden. It wouldn't even take 10 minutes a day. I wonder how many guys would love to read their wives' journals and get a good long look at their thought processes and how they're feeling? DH is not among that group.

The night after the fight, I slept badly and so was in dream-sleep when DH woke me, and whenever that happens, I always feel as if I'm still in the dream for the first while after I wake up. In this dream, I was a slave, and DH was the master. I had raggy clothes and worked all day, but when I could steal a moment, I'd write something on scraps of paper I hoarded whenever I could. Just before DH woke me up, the Master found my writings and was furious with me. I hid as best I could in a corner, curled up in fetal position because I knew he would beat me. But he didn't beat me. He broke my hands.

In some ways, I still feel as if I'm in the dream.

I feel dead inside. I do what I need to do with the kids and we have moments of fun and silliness, but I can't keep it up. My eyes are stinging and I find myself on the verge of tears often. My chest feels heavy. I don't want to do anything but am forcing myself to keep moving, or I will drown in the ocean of my own tears. Ironically, I am getting all sorts of stuff done, including the Christmas shopping, and some tasks around the house that really needed doing.

I know I need to talk to DH about this, but I don't really see the point. I can't make him understand. I can't take another hours-long confrontation. By the end of the last round, I had fallen into melodrama... flopping back on the bed, I said, putting a pillow over my face, "Just hold the pillow down until I stop breathing. No one will suspect a thing..." and "You know, if I go over the edge, it's because you pushed me. Whoops! Watch me fall..."

I wrote (long hand) a list of words last night, trying to figure out exactly how I feel. I feel deceived. I feel lost. I feel dead (emotionally).

Then I wonder, how much of this bona fide depression is because of my post-RAI, dying thyroid state? I know I'm prone to depression when my thyroid meds are off. If I were not hypo, would I just be able to brush off this whole thing? I can't tell.

DH has been very solicitous of me since we fought. He is showing that he cares for me in his way. He is an excellent father and has been a great husband...

I guess I'll get over this, but I don't know when. Or how. I haven't been writing because DH has flat out told me not to write about him, and I have been struggling with disobeying his wishes versus my own need to examine what's going on in my head. Since I spent the past 3 days talking to sisters and friends about all this stuff, I guess I've decided that it doesn't matter if perfect strangers hear the story, too.

All I really want him to do is say, "Yeah, I sometimes tune you out. You probably did explain the whole curtain idea to me before, but I wasn't really listening. I'm sorry." I just want him to admit that he may be wrong about something... whenever we have a fight, it's always me that's wrong, me that's crazy. This time, I don't think so. In the past, I've always "come around," but I don't think I can do that now. This is one time when I've got to stand up for myself, what I believe, what is important to me.

I just don't know how to convey any of this to DH in a constructive way, some way that doesn't lead us into an eternal spiral of fighting and hurling accusations at each other.

Meanwhile, on the surface, everything is more-or-less fine. Except that I'm a million miles away.

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